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680 Tasting Notes

85

This smells AM-A-ZING dry, like a posh chocolate biscuit, or hot chocolate mix. There’s something slightly “green” about it, too, which at first I assumed was the green tea. It’s not the characteristic dank small I associate with green tea, though, so I’m actually thinking it might be the green rooibos. I don’t have any previous experiences with green rooibos to compare, though, so I could be wrong. Either way, it’s a nice smell, and I like it. There’s a slight hint of cinnamon, too, and the combination is somehow slightly Christmassy.

Brewed, this smells much the same as it does dry. The taste is slightly weak, although that might be my fault for being cautious with the brew time. The initial sip is a little bland, but the flavour really develops in the aftertaste. I’m surprised how well the chocolate emerges, especially given that it’s up against two strong flavours in their own right. Mostly, this tastes just as it smells – chocolate first (if blindfolded, I’d probably be convinced this was hot chocolate), a hint of cinnamon, and then a subtle earthiness from the base teas that gives the whole thing some depth.

I’ve got enough left for a couple more cups, and this is certainly one I’m going to enjoy trying again. Maybe I’ll be brave and extend the brew time a little! This is lovely as it is, though – thank you to Courtney for another generous sample!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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50
drank Popcorn Tea by Teapigs
680 tasting notes

Sipdown! Finished off my packet of these at work today. It’s not my favourite genmaicha, but it’s okay. It tastes nice and nutty, with a slight sugary sweetness that reminds me of sugar puffs. Sadly, it just doesn’t rock my world.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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90

Sipdown! Figured out last night that I had just enough of my sample left to make a litre of cold-brew to take to work today. I’m really glad I managed to try it like this, because I think this is how it shines brightest. The lemon and cream flavours really pop, and the rooibos remains in the background (exactly where I want it, in other words!) I thought this was gorgeous before, now I know it is. I’d definitely re-order this one.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
Sil

the lime chiffon as a cold brew is delicious! and orange &cream is also a tasty one heh

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80
drank SBT: Earl Grey by 52teas
680 tasting notes

I approached this one with a little trepidation, as earl grey isn’t always my favourite thing these days. Sometimes it’s just too floral and bergamot-y, and it gives me a headache. I should have known that I could trust Frank, though, because this one is perfect. I gave the bag the usual three minutes in boiling water, by which point it was looking quite dark. It certainly smells quite strongly when you first open the bag, but it translates into a quite delicate tea. I’m glad of this – I want my iced teas to be refreshing rather than in my face. At the same time, though, I like to be able to identify what I’m drinking. This one strikes the perfect balance. The black base is smooth and solid as ever, and the delicate citrusy flavour of bergamot seems to float on the surface. There’s a slight floral note to the aftertaste, and something of a candy-like creaminess as well – it’s certainly not harsh in the way that some EGs can be. I could happily drink this all day. In fact, that’s more or less exactly what I will be doing. It’s supposed to be hot here again, and I’ve got 300 shipping invoices to enter on DHL, so I’ve hardly an excuse to leave my desk. Good thing my tea is close at hand, then!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

I really liked this. I thought I picked up a grape Kool-Aid or candy flavor. I don’t like harsh bergamot, so that was nice. I want more of this one!

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80
drank Smaug Tea by 52teas
680 tasting notes

Had a cup of this when I returned from lunch this afternoon. After I’d cleared the backlog of visitors in my reception, anyway. I’d been reading Dr No (I know, I know…), and I’d just got to the part when his “dragon” appears. To continue the theme, this seemed a fitting tea to start the afternoon off. I think this is actually only my second or third cup of this — my pouch is still pretty full. I like it just as much as I did last time I logged it, though. The cinnamon is sweet, the cayenne pepper spicy, and the dragonwell is a beautiful complement to both. Slightly vegetal, but not at all astringent. This tea really does make me think of dragons, somehow. The green tea for the dragon itself, the cinnamon for the fire, and the cayenne pepper for the smoke puffs that are obviously going to ensue. Evocative, this one. I love that in a tea!

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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100
drank SBT: Lime Cola by 52teas
680 tasting notes

This is so good when it’s cold. I put my SBTs in a bottle to bring to work a litre at a time, leaving the second litre in the fridge at home for the next day. I drank half of yesterday’s bottle in the morning while it was cold, and absolutely loved it. I forgot to put the other half in the fridge while I went for lunch, though, and came back to a warm-ish glass that wasn’t so fabulous. Somehow, this tea seems to lose some of its flavour when it gets warm. I guess the clue’s in the name given that it’s iced tea, though. Anyway, today I’m making an effort to be less forgetful so I can log this successfully.

Cold, this tastes beautifully of cola with a twist of lime. It’s cola rather than coke — the kind of flavour you’d expect if you bought own brand rather tha coca cola or pepsi, or whatever. Like cola bottles, really, I suppose. The lime tatses remarkably fresh and zingy, almost like I’d squeezed it in myself. On a hot day (and today is warming up quickly), this is just the thing. Better for me than actual cola, but just as tasty. All that, combined with the fact that it’s tea make it a winner in my book! This is great stuff — I definitely feel a repurchase coming on.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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60
drank Rooibos by Teapigs
680 tasting notes

This is one of the boxes of Teapigs from my “Ultimate” collection that I’ve left until last fairly intentionally. Plain rooibos blends aren’t usually my thing – I want to like them, but I can’t get past the taste of rooibos on its own. It’s just too earthy and woodsy and plain odd. On closer inspection, though, this is actually a rooibos/honeybush blend despite its name, so I’m a little more hopeful about it now. Honeybush I can tolerate.

Dry and while brewing, this just smells like rooibos. It’s that typical, almost medicinal scent. Possibly there’s a higher proportion of rooibos than honeybush in here, which would make sense given that this blend is called rooibos, so perhaps I should have expected that. In any case, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to my first sip.

Strangely, though, the predominant taste here is honeybush. Relief is probably the first thing I felt, because now I know I’ll be able to finish the box. I was expecting the harsh edge of rooibos here, for certain, but this tea is remarkably sweet and smooth tasting. It’s almost as if I’d added honey, which I haven’t. After seeing the colour of the liquor, which is a deep, dark red-brown, I was half tempted to add some milk in an effort to make it more palatable. I’m glad I tried it first, though, because it absolutely doesn’t need it. I suppose there’s a lesson here in how not to judge a tea by its cover, as it were. Or by previous experiences with other similar teas, for that matter. It’s not my favourite, and no rooibos/honeybush blend ever will be, but it’s eminently drinkable and, I feel, one of the more pleasant examples of its type. A successful end to this experience, anyway!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec

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95

Sipdown! My cupboard is back to normal, which cheered me up a little this morning. As did a cup of this. It’s my last one, but I’ve definitely got the back-to-work blues, so it was well deserved. It’s still too long until I can go home, though sigh.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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75

Sipdown! Had my final cup of this hot last night, and I’m finishing off the last of my second cold-brewed pitcher this morning. This wasn’t my favourite tea at first, but now I’ve found a way I like to drink it I think I’ll be missing it after all.

On a different note, I wish Steepster’s cupboard problems would resolve themselves — it’s getting kind of annoying! Apparently I have logged everything in my cupboard once, which just isn’t true…

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
Sil

Known bug…it’s correct if you look at the other section which shows how many times you’ve drank a tea…

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75

Cold brewed this last night to bring in to work today. I actually think I prefer it this way — something about the taste of pineapple and coconut together, and in a hot drink, makes me feel a little nauseous. Cold, I’m fine with it. I also think the flavours have chance to shine much more. The pineapple tastes sweet and juicy, and pairs really well with the cocount to make a pretty authentic pina colada taste (minus the alcohol, obviously). Although it was in the fridge all night, the honeybush is pretty indiscernable, which is fine with me. I’m sad that I left it this long to try this tea cold brewed, because I was really missing a trick. Unfortunately, my pouch is almost gone, but there might be just enough left for another pitcher tomorrow. I finally found my happy place with this tea, though, and maybe with pineapple/coconut blends in general. Yay for that!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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Bio

Hi :) I’m Sarah, 25, and I live in Norwich in the UK. My tea obsession began when a friend introduced me to Teapigs a good few years ago now. Since then, I’ve been insatiable. Steepster introduced me to a world of tea I never knew existed, and my goal is not to TRY ALL THE TEAS. Or most of them, anyway.

I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.

I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they’re the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer — their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.

I’m still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don’t think they’ll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don’t hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I’ve also never really tried pu’erh, and that’s something I’m just starting to explore.

I’m still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.

You’ve probably had enough of me now, so I’m going to shut up. Needless to say, though, I really love tea. Long may the journey continue!

My rating system:

91-100: The Holy Grail. Flawless teas I will never forget.

81-90: Outstanding. Pretty much perfection, and happiness in a cup.

71-80: Amazing. A tea to savour, and one I’ll keep coming back to.

61-70: Very good. The majority of things are as they should be. A pleasing cup.

51-60: Good. Not outstanding, but has merit.

41-50: Average. It’s not horrible, but I’ve definitely had better. There’s probably still something about it I’m not keen on.

31-40: Almost enjoyable, but something about it is not for me.

11-30: Pretty bad. It probably makes me screw my face up when I take a sip, but it’s not completely undrinkable.

0-10: Ugh. No. Never again. To me, undrinkable.

Location

Norwich, UK

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